I don’t own a smartphone and if I ever do, I will never set it up to receive email, Facebook or Twitter notifications. I will use it the same way I use my current “dumb” cell phone – turn it on when I leave the house and turn it off when I return. The phone number will be given out as an emergency number to my children’s schools. Very few family and friends will have the number and, if they do, they must not expect me to “text” them. It won’t happen.
Because I find bliss in being unconnected. This illusion of “connection” in the first place doesn’t do anything to further relationships. Instead, it just imposes unreasonable expectations on everyone to know everything at any given time.
No, I’m not actually sorry if I don’t know my second cousin Johnny’s wife is pregnant or if a virtual friend I’ve had for a few years is moving overseas. Why? Because I refuse to give in to the pressure to be aware of what is going on in the lives of everyone even remotely connected to me by the smallest digital thread.
I like living my life and if there is something truly important I absolutely should know about someone, I’m sure someone will pick up the phone and call me, send me an email or write me a letter.
And if you do send me a message of some sort, accept that it will take time for me to get back to you. If I am driving, I am not answering a phone call. I am most certainly not attempting to respond to a text, which is a 10 minute ordeal in and of itself in the first place. If I am working, I won’t be randomly opening Facebook just to see if anyone has messaged me for any reason. I have set working hours (both self-imposed and outside the home), and I stick by them. And if it is between dinnertime and bedtime, I’m spending time with my husband and children.
People lament the idea of a “loss of values” like families spending time together hunched over digital devices, people no longer reading real books, or children not respecting their parents (and, no, I defy those awful memes that say washing a child’s mouth out with soap or spanking them is part of teaching them respect; that is disgusting and abhorrent). So the fact that I choose values over “connection” and people feel put out by that is, frankly, hypocritical. I certainly do value real connections with people – a phone call or email or letter to catch up with a friend, for example – but I choose not to allow anyone to impose their expectations that all people be instantly available, at everyone’s beck and call, upon me.
Many people act surprised when I tell them I do not have a smartphone and even though they realize I do not have one, they still seem to think I have constant access to such conveniences as Facebook. I do not and I choose not to. Simple as that.
What I do choose are those peaceful moments I have enjoying life and the tangible world around me, and I make no apologies for that.